DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Monday, November 30, 2009

MS Breakthrough?

Article in a Canadian publication about a Englishman whose wife was diagnosed with MS.

Dr. Zamboni's research suggests that MS is not, as widely believed, an autoimmune condition, but a vascular disease. Iron as a possible cause of MS...the heavy metal can cause inflammation and cell death, hallmarks of the disease. Those who have MS have significant blockages and iron deposits, while those who do not have MS have neither iron buildup nor blocked arteries.


Watch W5's documentary on the groundbreaking new treatment for multiple sclerosis, which includes the first time the liberation surgery was filmed. It is available on the Web at


I completed my NARCOMS Fall Update. From the NARCOMS website:
Benefits of Participation
  • You are helping to provide the information needed to learn about the variations of MS in a very large group of patients and to monitor the progression of the disease
  • You help us monitor the effects of various treatments. Your information may be providing ideas for future research
  • You will be receiving the printed version of the MSQR free of charge
  • You will be informed of recent studies and their results
  • You will be notified of clinical trials in which you may be eligible to participate
The current newsletter is at, which includes some information on Vitamin D:

The MS Association had this to say about Vitamin D3:

  • An inverse relationship appears to exist between vitamin D3 status and the probability of developing MS. Vitamin D3 supplementation may be a possible therapy in MS.
  • A Phase I/II trial of high-dose oral vitamin D3 with calcium trial showed that high-dose Vitamin D3 - 10,000 IU/day or higher - is safe and tolerable, with some evidence of clinical improvement. More data are needed.

Vitamin D: What you need to know

I ran across this article through a newsletter--otherwise, I wouldn't have been on this site! The article is very detailed:

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, not a vitamin, has anti-inflammatory effects and bolsters the immune system.

The only 2 reliable sources of vitamin D are the sun and D3 supplements. There is an old Italian saying "Where the sun does not go the doctor does." Always avoid sunburn. Remember to take antioxidants when you sit in the sun, as these can help prevent skin cells from sun damage.

Take vitamin D3, (cholecalciferol) the active form of vitamin D. Do not take vitamin D2 as it is not as biologically active nor as effective, and nor as safe as vitamin D3.

Here are some guidelines

If your blood level is above 45ng/ml and for maintenance, I recommend 2,000-4,000 IU daily.

If your blood level is 30-45 ng/ml, I recommend you correct it with 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for 3 months under a doctor's supervision and then recheck your blood levels.

If your blood level is less than 30 ng/ml, I recommend you correct it with 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day under a doctor's supervision and then recheck your blood levels after 3 months. It takes a good 6 months usually to optimize your vitamin D levels if you're deficient. Once this occurs, you can lower the dose to the maintenance dose of 2,000 - 4,000 IU a day.

if you are taking 5,000 IU or more daily, you should have your blood levels monitored approximately every 3 months.

The only blood test that can diagnose vitamin D deficiency is a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25 OH vitamin D). The current ranges for "normal" are 20 to 55 ng/ml. These are much too low! The ideal range for optimal health is 50-80 ng/ml.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friends with kids

I (and my life partner!) decided to NOT have kids. There are many reasons for this and I'm not going into them here and now. Unfortunately, our decision has caused a lot of turmoil for a lot of people over the years. Many have tried to change our minds or make constant comments to damage my self-esteem. (I know that wasn't the primary intent, but thanks anyway--great way to show friendship or family love.)

The last time I scrapbooked with two of my girlfriends, they gave me photos of the kids. I started thinking about it, and we hardly ever see or hang out with the kids anymore. But we hang out with our friends (the parents) pretty often. Okay, not often enough, but pretty often anyway. I mentioned to M that I had some concern that our friends think we don't like their kids. They're at the fun ages, so I wouldn't mind being around them more. M thought that the friends might be concerned about my health. I'm good around smaller groups of kids; I just seem to get sick around the gatherings, like the birthday parties with LOTS of germ incubators, I mean kids.

Then we realized that we are probably just getting our friends when they have sitters, so they just have other plans for us. I hope that is the case and they don't all really think we hate kids. I guess only time will tell. Maybe we'll have to go out of our way to include the kids in some things at the new house. (a few at a time?! Kids are exhausting!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Green Porno

What an odd website. My Green Porno Name is Ocean Glider. Mike's is Ollie Owlfly.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I stopped buying Cool Whip because it contains high fructose corn syrup. The Rediwhip in a can does not but it's not the same. Earlier this week, I was at Albertson's and they had another brand, so I checked it out and no HFCS. Score! But how will it taste?

I also picked up a Sunshine Lemon Cake mix (I think at F&E) about a month ago because my grandma likes lemony desserts. So I made the cake after I finished making cookies (for grandpa!) Thanksgiving morning but I didn't have time for it to cool quite enough for frosting, so I didn't make the frosting, I just used powdered sugar.

We went to my grandparents and left a little cookies and cake for them to enjoy later. While we were there, I stuffed myself with dessert--little pieces of chocolate pie and pumpkin pie with RediWhip, lemon meringue pie, cheesecake brownie, cherry cheesecake--yum. Then we went over to Joe's and the kids had cookies and cake. After watching them touch the cookies, I left the rest with some cake when we left. :) There was a little cake that had stayed covered with plastic wrap the whole time, so I took that piece home.

Tonight, I decided to have part of my lemon cake, and I remembered I had the Truwhip, so I had some. OMG, way better than Cool Whip. I was really surprised. It was more like the texture of whipped cream when I make it myself. I'm shocked that HFCS made that much of a difference. Maybe there were some other ingredients that were different too, but wow, I hope this product stays on the market. Yum!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


A NY Times article reports "a chemical called bisphenol A, or a synthetic estrogen that United States factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies to the tune of six pounds per American per year. That's a lot of estrogen. More than 92 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine...." BPA can be found in canned foods and beverages, likely from the packaging.

Best quote: "When you have 92 percent of the American population exposed to a chemical, this is not one where you want to be wrong," said Dr. Ted Schettler of the Science and Environmental Health Network. "Are we going to quibble over individual rodent studies, or are we going to act?"

My favorite water bottle (as I mentioned on a LinkedIn comment discussing "Made in USA" patriotism) is the Nalgene BPA free plastic bottle. It has a large mouth so you can put ice in it, and it is clear enough that you can fill it from the fridge dispenser without overflowing. Bonus is that it IS made in the USA.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

House update

I got an email stating that the lender has received the short sale package, ordered the BPO, and was assigned to a negotiator as of 11/20. The email also stated that it takes 60 days to complete a short sale, so while they stated follow up will happen 12/09, I would guess that, at best, we're looking at 1/20 before we start on the 30 day mortgage close on our end. Sounds like things are moving forward!

So, that means Christmas party in current house (probably 12/26 for those who want to know, but we may not unpack our Christmas stuff since I'm already trying to pack up other stuff, and did I mention the theme of the Christmas party will be "don't bring alcohol so we can drink what's here instead of moving it"). Then first phase move (including cats and dogs and all related stuff as well as anything not needed for staging) maybe end of February (perhaps a little Mardi Gras party for our helpers?). Then second stage move when our current house sells, with a housewarming party shortly thereafter. I've got to start updating my wishlist. :) Then multiple yard warming parties as it gets done it phases--it is over an acre, so it's unlikely to be done all at once but it would be great to have a pool in before the summer.

I'm trying to NOT be SUPER excited but my Realtor said the email was a good sign.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good service Part II

Same as Part I, some is over the top or goofy, but the general idea is excellent. Here's my top ten: (yes, I consolidated some!)

Do not make people wait or beg for a condiment. Do not bring judgment with the ketchup....Or whatever condiment is requested.

Do not fill the water glass (or coffee cup) every two minutes, or after each sip. You’ll make people nervous. Do not let a glass sit empty for too long.

Never blame the chef or the busboy or the hostess or the weather for anything that goes wrong. Just make it right.

Specials, spoken and printed, should always have prices.

Do not bring soup without a spoon. Few things are more frustrating than a bowl of hot soup with no spoon.

Do not ask if someone is finished when others are still eating that course. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect.

Do not ask, “Are you still working on that?” Dining is not work — until questions like this are asked.

Do not stop your excellent service after the check is presented or paid.

Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change.

Do not disappear. Do not show frustration. Your only mission is to serve. Be patient. It is not easy.

Monday, November 23, 2009


This weekend, R took us to the charity event for the East Valley Boys and Girls Club at the Gila River Wild Horse Pass Resort. We all got something in either the silent auction or live auction. I'm excited to use the passes we won.

One of the speakers was a young lady named Precious. She got (and deserved) a standing ovation. I know it's not all about me (well, on my blog it is!), but she made a comment about her mom doing what was best for her kids, like all mothers do. I remember feeling really ticked off about that comment, not at her, but at my mom. I can think of MANY times that she chose to do what was NOT in her kids' best interests. (My surrogate "moms"--I lived with her mom and grandma--weren't any better.) I try to be forgiving and she's obviously made her peace with God, but I still find it amazing that people take it for granted that parents do what is best for their kids. I don't generally have regrets--I think things happen for a reason, even if I can't see it immediately--but I do wonder how different my life would be if my mom (and SOME other family members) had made different choices. I've lived my life overcoming the obstacles my family put in my way. I know that I can't change what others do, only my reactions, but really, what would it be like to have a family that helped overcome obstacles? Did I really have to go through all those things to be the person I am today? Couldn't I have skipped some of it?!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Music and exercise

Scientific selection of songs for runners (yes, really!)

Free download at run to the beat:
Other songs listed under genre

Maybe M and R can get it all on their Droids and start running together. Or not.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ten Things You Can Do to Reduce Incarceration

Written by one of my (many) favorite authors, Walter Mosley, an article suggesting somewhat concrete ways to make a difference. I don't think I can say it any better so here are the excerpts:

Do your jury duty. If you are a juror in a non-violent drug case, vote not guilty. Jury nullification--an acquittal based on principle--is perfectly legal. The framers intended jurors to be a check on unjust prosecutions and bad laws.

Pay a kid to graduate. A report by the RAND Corporation found that paying students to finish high school prevented more crime than the toughest sentencing laws. Dropping out of school creates a high risk of ending up in jail. Work with your community group or place of worship to create a program to pay at-risk students to graduate from high school.

Come out of the closet about your drug use. War on drugs propaganda says users are bad people. Let your fellow citizens know the real face of the American drug user. Don't be scared.

Hire a formerly incarcerated person. Every year about 600,000 people get out of jail. The odds are against their landing a job, which is a huge factor in why more than half will be re-arrested within a year. Go to Hired Network.

Vote for politicians who are smart on crime. Tougher sentences aren't the answer. In the US, criminal sentences are twice as long as those in England, three times those in Canada and five to ten times those in France. And yet crime rates in US cities are higher than in those nations.

Just say no to the police. When cops request your consent to pat you down, peek inside your backpack or purse or search your car, you have the right to decline. When they have a warrant or other legal cause to search, like at an airport, they don't have to ask. Too many Americans--especially in communities of color--are scared to death of the police.

Don't be a professional snitch. If you have information about a violent or property crime, call the police. Witnessing is fine. But snitches get paid either in cash or a break in their own prosecution for tattling. They make untrustworthy witnesses. Snitches are responsible for almost half the wrongful convictions of people who were later found to be innocent.

Talk up the trades. Retail drug selling pays about as much as working at McDonald's. As the book Freakonomics pointed out, that's why most drug dealers live with their moms. Many dealers would prefer a more lucrative--and safer--line of work. People who don't see themselves as "college material" and might otherwise end up on the street should be encouraged to get training for a blue collar trade.

There were a couple more points that I'm not sure I agreed with but may be valid. And Freakonomics was a great read!


Scrapbooking night with my girls (all three of us) and I'm so close to finishing my 2008 family book, I can't stand it! Soon though... Dinner worked out awesome but I forgot about dessert and couldn't convince Mike to do a DQ run for us. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Environmentalism co-opted by consumerism

Do these "green" tip lists actually reduce the likelihood of making the big changes needed to help our planet? I don't think so...

"Examining 2,219 green products throughout North America between November 2008 and January 2009, TerraChoice also found that 98 percent of them weren't as green as they let on; rather, green claims came with hidden trade offs, lacked proof, were irrelevant, or in the case of something like organic cigarettes were simply distracting from the harm created by the overall product type."

"Green consumerism runs the risk of giving consumers a false sense of accomplishment, reducing the chance of further change. It deludes us into thinking we're going to shop our way into sustainability. What everyone can agree on is that solving the current problems isn't necessarily about introducing more green products. Rather, the answer may be to think differently, look at things through a green lens, simplify life and consume less."

Agility Class

Yep, went to class. Had fun. Tired. No class next week. Kind of relieved. But I should really work with the girls at home...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(Chocolate) Milk does a body good

I've taken to drinking organic chocolate 1% milk on occasion now that I don't drink soda. Since I started drinking my "milk box" I've read that chocolate milk is an excellent drink after working out. (I usually drink light chocolate soy milk then, out of the carton, since no one else I know drinks it and it's easier!)

The New York Times had an article about drinking chocolate milk to reduce inflammation. The study used cocoa powder and skim milk and found that participants "had significantly lower levels of several inflammatory biomarkers, though some markers of cellular inflammation remained unchanged. Participants also had significantly higher levels of good HDL cholesterol." I'm interested to hear what the MS community thinks about using chocolate milk to reduce inflammation.

Can chewing gum help you lose weight?

An article in the Washington Post talks about the idea of chewing gum as a distraction to other eating. "Studies so far suggest that chewing gum may help reduce cravings, particularly for sweet snacks, and spur people to cut their daily intake by about 50 calories. The combined effects of gum-chewing on weight management -- the reduced calorie intake, increased calorie burning and distraction from potentially fattening foods....suggests that small changes, such as consuming 100 fewer calories per day, can curb weight gain among overweight and obese people and that such changes are easy for most people to sustain. In light of such a "small changes" approach, maybe popping a stick of gum in your mouth now and then is a good idea. Especially if it takes the place of a Snickers bar."

I don't know when sugar-free gum, at 5 calories rather than 10 for sugar gum, became the norm, but I've looked everywhere and the only gum I've found that doesn't have aspartame or Xylitol is Glee, available at Sprouts. I agree with the author of this related article--she doesn't care for artificial sweeteners and wants to know why those of us preferring traditional gum are in the minority.


Last day in Denver: A and I were going to go to the US Mint, but traffic was crazy (due to residual snow) so we went the other direction to Golden after having breakfast at Toast where you can get a pancake flight. We visited a Quilt Museum and the Coors Brewery. While both were cool, I actually really like the Quilt Museum more. We had a tour guide walk us through and I got my grandma a gift. After the brewery tour (wow, Coors is gross, even when it's free), it was off to the airport. I did not do nearly enough reading on this trip. And I'm coming back with a LOT of freebies, so I'm glad I didn't originally fully pack my bags!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Last day of the conference and then A picked me up for our girl time together. After we visited her dog and crazy cat, we headed over to the aquarium, which was pretty cool, but I have to say, I've never seen a tiger at an aquarium. It did have Spongebob out front under snow. :) Then we met up with S and another guy they work with for dinner. Hopefully I didn't embarrass my DH in his absence!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I was stuck inside most of the day for my conference (yes, on a Saturday) but made it out for dinner with a couple of my group members from Phoenix, as well as the young lady in charge of the conference, and three gentlemen including a SUPER BRILLIANT guy who speaks regularly on different financial topics. He is slightly intimidating (to me) as he seems to know A LOT about A LOT and he is pretty young and savvy, and on top of it all, he's pretty down to earth. Anyway, we had fun with our wine flights and then took photos of the Christmas tree outside Bloom while it was snowing.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I made it to Denver with 3 of my FPA Board members (the executive director arrived yesterday) and it was pretty uneventful, except the lady next to me on the airplane reminded me how much I love Phoenix. It was her first time visiting Phoenix; her daughter was in town for the International Green Show thing. Anyway, we're here and I hope I am doing okay and not embarrassing anyone. (like me) :P

I found out on the car trip to lunch and the hotel with my Phoenix group that one of the ladies is very interested in permaculture and is going to provide a local resource for me. She explained that they have experts in composting, chickens, and which varieties of plants will grow well in Phoenix. (Like which apple trees, since most won't grow here.)

BTW, today is my three year anniversary at KCA. Whoo-hoo!

Health care

NY Times article about Dutch Health Care Minister's observations on the US health care system, overhauls being made to the Dutch system, and things going well in their system that the US should consider He feels that Holland's system does not ration or budget care and is visiting Mayo Clinic as a leader in medicine; he felt innovation should be encouraged by the system by providing incentives to meet the demands of supplying labor (doctors and nurses.)

The article states that nearly 40 percent of the nation's population gets care from Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Affairs, all of which have significant restrictions on the choices available to patients. (My dad, a Vet, would definitely agree with that!)

According to the article, in the Netherlands, everyone chooses from a list of 10 or so insurers who offer a standardized health plan that can be enriched with other options. Those who cannot afford the premiums are given subsidies; premiums are based on the benefits offered, not on a person's age, health status or sex.

So what can be done? Suggestions include creating quality indicators based on medical process and patient's outcomes as well as electronic medical records for coordinated, coherent care. Hmmm. Not sure this isn't all being talked about between me and my Canadian clients. We've already determined that we can solve the world's problems, if only someone would listen! :P

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Agility Class

Too busy to blog but went to class!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

I'm thankful for Veteran's Day (Remembrance Day for the Canadians, eh) and having many freedoms thanks to our military heroes, including my dad and sister (Marines) and grandpa and SIL's brother (Navy), among many others I know and love! Remember our fallen heroes when you let your freedoms slip away by not voting or not being educated before voting. Just because you don't want it, doesn't mean someone else shouldn't have the choice--you don't have the right to take away someone else's freedom, whether it's religion, guns, animal ownership, etc...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Power Saver and Going Green

I don't understand how this works, but the EEF Residential Power Saver unit claims to reduce energy use bills by 20-25% with a $300-400 investment. From their website:

The basic principle behind these units is as follows:

Inductive loads such as electric motors, pumps and compressors kick back unusable energy into the power system
This unusable energy materializes as heat build-up in appliances, noise on transistor radios and cordless phones, etc
The power save units contain energy saving capacitors that absorb this unusable energy and recycle it as usable electricity that can be used by electrical appliances, thereby reducing the energy demand from the power company
This process can reduce your usage and therefore your electrical bill by as much as 25%*.

I also ran across this website: where you can watch "weekly green living episodes."

Trial update

Quick appointment at the Hope Center for taking fluids. Done until next month. I forgot to take the band-aid off my arm until much later in the day and got a bit of a rash.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fun Theory

Check out No, really, check it out NOW!

It is a really cool website with the premise: "How do we get consumers to make more responsible choices in their daily lives?" The videos are awesome!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chicken Coop

So with the possibility of an acre plus backyard, I have been thinking about getting chickens. Chickens need a coop, especially with my hunting dogs sharing a yard! As I understand it, the chickens will automatically go back into the coop at sunset if they are out. I've also been told that I should have 3 egg laying chickens and that a coop that can be moved around will allow for maximum fertilization of the lawn. (Although someone told me their urine will burn the lawn?) At the VSWC Hunt test, I found out that several people have opinions on what hens to get, so I'll have to pick their brains later.

Jon Stewart and Superfreakonomics Steve Levitt

I really liked Freakonomics, so I'm excited that Superfreakonomics is coming (okay, it's here but I don't have time to read it yet) so I was disappointed to see this on treehugger:

There's been quite a controversy kicked up over Steven Levitt and Steven Dubner's new book, SuperFreakonomics. The authors have battled allegations (which seem to have been proven true) that they misquoted and misrepresented the scientist featured in the book, in order to claim that geoengineering is the best solution to climate change--and that worldwide efforts to reduce carbon would be both infeasible and inadequate. Surprising just about everyone, Jon Stewart agrees.

Typically, Jon Stewart can be counted on to be a champion of progressive causes--which is probably why he alienates his audience....Endorsing the view that essentially holds that we can continue polluting and emitting CO2 at the current rate because a geoengineering solution (seeding cloud cover, placing reflective mirrors in earth's orbit, etc) will emerge to will solve the problem does seem a bit odd.

I will probably still read it but I'm sad that there are still so many people out there that think we can do what we want for as long as we want with no consequences. We only have one planet so let's treat it better. The Great Law of the Iroquois states, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." (From the Seventh Generation website--my favorite laundry and dish detergent--easier to find than Method or Mrs Meyers.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ten environmental toxins to avoid

Interesting conversations this week about the flu/H1N1 vaccines, which have been deemed safe for pregnant women. Apparently there is mercury in the shot and the people administering the shots don't even know it.

After hearing about this hot topic all week, I ran across this article, with mercury at the number 1 spot.;_ylt=AlvgfKa5UNB0XOfAQsThWw7AV8cX

Since the one person I know that gets the flu shot every year, gets the flu every year, I think I'll continue to skip it, although that is controversial in the MS circles. (We can NOT have the mister as it is a live vaccine.)

Fitness and the environment

I was at the gym and I noticed that, at the top of the trash, there were a couple of magazines and some water bottles. And then I read this article about bettering your body and the world, which discussed ways that fitness endeavors are becoming more environmentally conscious. Prominent recycling bins would be a great first step. I liked this quote: try to "run hard, tread lightly," a motto on one of the 100-percent-recycled polyester shirts sold by Atayne. They suggest hanging clothes to dry (workout clothing typically dries very quickly) and using take-back recycling programs for workout clothes. Ask for an opt-out for goody bags, medals, and Tshirts at walks and runs, as well as recycling and trash pick up. "Trash runners" pick up trash on the route during their run.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Agility Class

Course night! I forgot, so I didn't take them both to Cassi's class like I usually do for course night. Teka did very well, got her lead-out and contacts, was excited and not sniffing, did the tire. Really her only issue was on the weaves.

Cassi did very well but I did remove her from the teeter once and then she did it okay (not great, but fast enough). She had a lot of trouble with the weaves for some reason, so we "opened" the first two and she was fine after that. Oh, coming out of the chute she tried to run into me both times she ran, instead of going straight ahead.

They both got to run twice and got the award for "Most Q-ingest Run." I ended up with a cat toy, a thing to hang keys/clickers around the neck, and a book. Next week is the beginning of 8 more weeks. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cool Green Science?

From a Linkedin Green group, I found Cool Green Science. The article, Why 'Green' Isn't Working: How Do We Reach the Other Half? started with a premise I agree with, but I'm not sure I am in total agreement throughout.

Don't call it green. I agree--the term green is overused, misused, and irrelevant.

Set a good example. I carry my reusable bags and my own water bottle. Maybe that influences a few people, but I don't see people doing what I do, for the most part. (See #4)

Don't be a schmuck. I tend to be judgmental but have tried to be very conscious of my attitude in this regard, because I am just making small changes as I figure it out. Since I don't know what or how, I don't expect everyone else to get there overnight either.

Help make things easier. While I agree that "To really get everyone on the right track, the 'green option' has to be the easiest option, or very close to it." I am already the main recycler at my office and my home, constantly having to educate people on what to put in (or not), and try to hold my attitude when people bring in boxes and bags full of stuff FROM HOME for me to take in my car to my home to my bin. This city does not make it easy to drop off sorted or unsorted recycling (although I found a newspaper/magazine bin near the office to reduce the amount going home with me). I don't know how much more I can do to make it easier--I'm still waiting for someone to make it easier for me to make it easier!!!

Celebrate the free stuff. Okay, walk more, drive less? This is Phoenix. Replacing bulbs with CFLs? No, not putting mercury all over my house, but thanks. Eating more vegetarian meals? I think the theory behind this is a bunch of hooey. Animals are not new to the planet. Shopping and eating in season? Yes, to an extent. They forgot that you can get lots of frozen produce out of season. Buying used locally online (think freecycle or Craig's list)? I try but haven't found it convenient, easy, or worthwhile yet.

Green Capitalism

An article in the NY Times asks a question we've all been wondering: Is Al Gore an advocate or an investor? It says that he is in a position to become the first "carbon billionaire" and poses questions around investing in green technologies. If he is providing venture capital for companies that will be in line to profit from new legislation, is he putting his money where his mouth is or is he using alarmist techniques to gain financially?

Other Democrats, such as Nancy Pelosi, have made these types of investments. Aren't Republicans usually the capitalists? I'm not sure that this was an opinion article, but it didn't seem to present the whole story. I have been skeptical of the carbon trading market since it was proposed because it does seem like some win and some lose. In my opinion, leaving the world better than we found it is not a win/lose proposition, so any solutions should be winners for as many as possible. I know, I'm such a dreamer....

Monday, November 2, 2009


At my office, I am the recycler, although I now have someone else that takes soda cans. A lot of boxes get thrown out for some reason, rather than recycled, so when I found out we might be moving, I requested that boxes be saved for me. A lot of boxes have come home with me since then!

This weekend, I packed about 20 boxes of stuff. Mike thinks I'm a little crazy since we don't know that/when we are moving yet. However, I'm looking at the amount of stuff we have accumulated over the past eleven+ years in this house and thinking about how much work it will be for me. So the CDs and paperback books are packed, most of the cookbooks, as well as about 75% of the front room collection that isn't staying when our house is listed. Our realtor suggested we keep the seven foot bookshelves but thin out the stuff so that's what I worked on. One more day, and the front room may be as ready as I can get it without help.

I am tired and I didn't sleep well all weekend. I don't know what's up with that! I managed to NOT gain weight even with all the Halloween candy, probably due to the exertion of packing boxes and cleaning house.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Raw Milk--Share a Cow!

The Washington Post had an article I hoped to find interesting about drinking raw milk, aka unpasteurized milk. Unfortunately, the author was very biased, as evidenced in her language throughout the article as well as her quotes from "experts" vs "consumers and providers." She talks about cow-sharing "schemes" as loopholes to get around laws prohibiting the sale of raw milk. (The consumption of raw milk is not illegal; the sale of raw milk is illegal in most of our country, excluding some areas, such as California.) She goes on to bash raw milk drinkers by discounting the nutritional value they find as merely anecdotal, similar to naysayers who don't believe in healthy living over medication. (I'm talking about MANY conditions that we know can be reversed with diet and exercise rather than medication.)

More interesting than her poorly researched article was the comments. An article could be written from that! There were only 21 comments ( but most of them were well written and included resources. Drinking raw milk seems to be a choice, and it has had very little history of making people sick, unlike beef and seafood, which are still sold nationwide. Excerpts:

Powerful pasteurized dairy industries...pasteurize milk products in order to extend their shelf life, not make them more healthy.

It's a fact that calves fed pasteurized cow's milk cannot survive. This experiment has been repeated many times. (no source was given)

There are no studies that DISPROVE raw milk's safety. Yes it does [chemically change milk]. Above 118 F degrees the fats and proteins are denatured, the sugars caramelized, and the enzymes are killed.

They also approve of the Lactoperoxidase Preservative System for the safe transport of unrefrigerated raw milk in countries where pasteurization and refrigerated transport are unfeasible. Lactoperoxidase is a naturally-occurring enzyme in raw milk...Lactoferrin, a glycoprotein found in raw milk, is so effective in keeping E. coli 0157:H7 at bay that it was approved by the FDA as a spray to be applied to raw beef carcasses.

Modern science is all about killing germs, when it should be about strengthening the immune system.

Obtaining raw milk illegally....that's civil disobedience against unjust laws. Cow-shares are not new, or loopholes, or circumventions, they are long-recognized legal arrangements called agistments. It's legal to own a cow or a share in a cow or herd--has been for centuries--and it's legal to drink raw milk from your own cow --OR FROM ANY OTHER SOURCE--IT'S NOT ILLEGAL TO DRINK RAW MILK...plenty of evidence from the early 20th century. The Mayo Clinic used to put tuberculosis patients on the (raw) Milk Cure. Journals are filled with studies showing the nutritional superiority of raw milk over pasteurized. Then, when the government started encouraging all dairy farmers to switch to confinement operations instead of pasture feeding, later studies showed no nutritional difference...

If the laws are truly put here to protect us, most processed products in the stores should be outlawed. It's not the food that should be altered and restricted from us, it's the industry that needs to be cleaned up. We are already seeing what happens to the human body when denatured foods are the only things available to it. Going back to the basic natural foods that our bodies were originally designed to eat has resulted in extreme health for many of us. Educated people are drinking raw milk because they see results. Thomas Jefferson put it well when he wrote "If people let the government decide what food they eat and medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as souls under tyranny."

You might give Sally Fallon a more balanced read (and fuller interview) and assist your readers to discover the truly fascinating history of the rise of the large dairies, the medicinal history of raw milk (oh yes! the Mayo clinic's origins with the milk cure, and some better science on the effects of pasteurization and homogenization on nutrition. Homogenization alone changes how we digest the milk fat (with a good deal of the fat globules now made so small that they directly enter the blood stream without being digested).

Pasteurized milk causes ear infections and allergies in many people; raw milk from grass-fed cows alleviates allergies, asthma and ear infections in many people. Pasteurizing milk destroys the enzymes and probiotics that occur naturally in the milk and make it easier to digest and help absorb the nutrients. Raw milk leaves intact the nutrients for easier digestion and better absorption.

...let's consider the real impact of these numbers. 1000 illnesses in seven years attributed to 45 outbreaks due to raw milk...

...Mark McAfee at Organic Pastures Dairy ( posts his lab results on his web site for everyone to see ( He maintains that a healthy cow eating grass outdoors in the sun, not grain in confinement, produces milk far safer than pasteurized milk. In the 8 years he has been in operation, he claims he has never had any pathogen (E.coli, Salmonella, lysteria, etc.) in his milk.

Sure, there's a tiny chance you'll get sick with raw milk. There's a tiny chance you'll get hit by a car crossing the street too. It's another nanny law. People all over the world drink raw milk. Very few get sick from it.

After researching both sides of this issue extensively, we entered into a cow boarding agreement with a local dairy. We have been enjoying real wholesome milk...and experiencing health benefits as a result. We have found that drinking healthy, unprocessed and tested milk from a certified grass-based producer is much more satisfying and nourishing. The alternative is heavily processed, milk from mistreated animals--cows raised in barns, on concrete floors, fed unnatural feed and loaded with antibiotics because of the high bacteria counts in their milk. How can we expect to mistreat our animals and then ask them to give us healthy milk? Animal husbandry is the real issue--America needs to treat cows with respect and love. Cows allowed to graze on pasture are happy, healthy cows.

I have to say that the last comment addresses the issue I have with industrial farming. It's not about big or small farms and dairies; it's about the respect we show our planet and those that inhabit it with us. I think that a reason that so many people are eating fake food (fake chicken nuggets anyone?) is that we've lost touch with nature, where our food comes from, and don't have respect for the cycle of life. How can we respect beef when it comes in a cardboard box with special sauce? I don't understand the idea of being vegan or vegetarian because that is just another way of denying our humanity. We, as a society, would be less wasteful (restaurants, I'm talking to you with your super-size plates full of food) if we had some respect for our food sources. There I go, being idealistic again. :)